The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Vii. The City of Samarkand

Samarkand topography

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On Friday, the 1st of November, the ambassadors went to see the lord, according to his order, expecting that he would dismiss them, and they found him at the mosque, which was being built. They waited from morning until noon, when the lord came out of a tent, and sat down on a carpet, where they brought him much meat and fruit. He sent to the ambassadors to say that they must excuse him that day, as he could not speak with them, having much business with his grandson Peer Mohammed, who was called king of India; and who was about to return to his own territory, whence he had come. On that day the lord gave him many horses, and robes, and arms, and knights to accompany him on his return. On the following Saturday the ambassadors returned to the lord, as he had commanded, but he did not come out of his tent, because he felt ill. The ambassadors waited until noon, when he came out; but some of his courtiers told the ambassadors to go away, as he would not see them, so they returned to their lodgings. On Sunday the ambassadors again went to the lord, to see if he would order them to be dismissed, and they waited a long time. The three confidential Meerzas asked them what they wanted, and told them to return to their lodgings, as the lord would not see them. They then sent for the knight who had charge of them, asked him why he had let them come, and ordered his nose to be pierced through; but he proved that he did not send them, nor had he seen them that day, and he thus escaped, with only a sound flogging. The Meerzas did this, because the lord was very sick, and all his women and attendants were running about in a state of bewilderment: so the Meerzas told the ambassadors to return to their lodgings, and to remain there, until they were sent for. The ambassadors returned there, and they neither went to the lord, nor did he send for them; but a Chatagai came and said that the Meerzas of the lord had sent him to say that they were to prepare to start on their journey the following day, in the morning, with the ambassadors from the Sultan of Babylon, from Turkey, and with Carvo Toman Oghlan, who was to accompany them as far as the city of Tabreez, and supply them with food, and all that they required. He added that, at Tabreez, Omar Meerza, the grandson of the lord, would dismiss them to their own land. The ambassadors answered that the lord had not yet dismissed them, nor sent any compliments to the lord their king, and they desired to know how this could be; and he told them that he had nothing more to say, and that the Meerzas had ordered him to give this message to them, and to the other ambassadors. The ambassadors then went to the Meerzas, at the palace, and told them that they knew very well what the lord had said to them the Thursday before, with his own mouth, that they should come to him, and that he would speak to them, and dismiss them: but that now the Meerzas had sent a man to them, to tell them to prepare to start the next day, at which they were very much surprised. The Meerzas answered that they could not see the lord, and that they must prepare to start next day, as they were now dismissed. The Meerzas did this because the lord was very ill, had lost the power of speech, and was at the point of death, as the ambassadors were told by those who knew it for certain; and this hurry arose, because the lord was dying, and the Meerzas wished them to be gone, before his death became known, that they might not publish the news in their own countries {Timur did not die until February 17th, 1405, at Otrar, beyond the river River River Jaxartes, when he was marching to invade China. He was, however, subject to very severe attacks of illness, and Mirkhond mentions that he was seized by one of those attacks, which not unfrequently succeeded to any sudden change from violent motion in the field to perfect domestic repose, at this very time. He recovered in a week.-Price}. To the remonstrances which the ambassadors constantly urged upon the Meerzas, that they ought not to be dismissed in this way, without any message from the lord, to the lord their king; the Meerzas answered that they had nothing more to say, further than that the ambassadors were to go. On the 18th of November, the Meerzas sent the Chatagai, who was to accompany the ambassadors, to say that they were to depart; and they replied that they would not go, without either seeing the lord, or receiving a letter from him; but he said that they must either go at once with all the supplies due to their rank, or stay, and go at another time without them. On that day, therefore, they left the place where they were lodging, and went to a garden near the city, with the ambassador from the sultan of Babylon, where they were ordered to wait for the ambassadors from Turkey. They remained in this garden until Friday the 21st of November, when they all assembled, and departed from Samarkand.